Top 10 Things The Nazis Got Right

The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi party) is one of the most infamous political systems in the history of the earth, made famous by their severe acts of cruelty and completely inhuman behavior. Despite that, the Nazi government implemented a number of policies which were for the good of their people and those of the future; many of these policies are now implemented by our own governments.

Please note: this list is NOT an endorsement of the Nazi regime which is, clearly, one of the most evil in history – second only to Stalinist Russia. This list hopefully shows that even amidst great evil, the good of man is still able to shine through. This list is an homage to those men and women living in Nazi Germany who were able to make change for good whilst living under a severely corrupt and wrong regime.


Nazi Germany was the first country to ban vivisection in the world, enacting a total ban in April 1933. The measure to ban vivisection was a huge concern and was put forth to the Reichstag as early as 1927. High ranking Nazis such as Hermann Goring, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler were very concerned about animal conservation, particularly pertaining as to how animals were butchered. Most current laws in Germany, and indeed the world, are derived from the laws put forth by the Nazi Party. This is, obviously, incredibly ironic as while on the one hand they defended the lives of brute animals, whilst on the other hand cruelly slaughtered Catholics, homosexuals, gypsies, and jews.

Hermann Goring, who was established as the Prime Minister of Prussia, had this to say:

“An absolute and permanent ban on vivisection is not only a necessary law to protect animals and to show sympathy with their pain, but it is also a law for humanity itself…. I have therefore announced the immediate prohibition of vivisection and have made the practice a punishable offense in Prussia.

Until such time as punishment is pronounced the culprit shall be lodged in a concentration camp.”

The above picture is a cartoon showing animals saved from vivisection saluting Hermann Goring. The sign in the window says “Vivisection Forbidden”.

616Px-Kolmården Wolf

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, their concerns not only laid with the people, but with the animals native to Germany. In 1934, a national hunting law was passed to regulate how many animals could be killed per year, and to establish proper ‘hunting seasons’. These hunting laws have now been applied in most western countries.

This law was known as Das Reichsjagdgesetz, the Reich Hunting Law. The Reichstag also footed the bill for education on animal conservation at Primary, Secondary and College levels. Additionally, in 1935, another law was passed, the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Protection Act). This law placed several native species on a protection list including the wolf and Eurasian lynx. Additions were added later as to afforestation and the humane slaughter of living fish.

Without this law it is likely some species would have completely disappeared from Germany’s forests.

German Anti-Smoking Ad

It is rumored that Adolf Hitler was so opposed to smoking in his later life that he couldn’t stand someone lighting up in the same room, and often felt obligated to object to it as a waste of money. Thus, he began one of the most expensive and effective tobacco movements throughout history. While during the 1930s and 1940s, other anti-tobacco movements failed fantastically in other countries, it was taken seriously in Nazi Germany.

The Nazis banned smoking in restaurants and public transportation systems, citing public health, and severely regulated the advertising of smoking and cigarettes. There was also a high tobacco tax, and the supplies of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht were rationed. Several health organizations in Nazi Germany even began claiming that smoking heightened the risks of miscarriages by pregnant women, now a commonly known fact.

The statistics of annual cigarette consumption per capita as of 1940 had Germany at only 749, while Americans smoked over 3,000.

The picture above says “He does not devour it, it [the cigarette] devours him!”

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Nazi Germany had one of the largest public welfare programs in history, based on the philosophy that all Germans should share a standard of living.

One of the most famous of these was the Winter Relief program, where high ranking Nazis and common citizens both took to the streets to collect charity for the unfortunate. This was not only an extremely intelligent propaganda move, but also a ritual to generate general good public feeling toward those in need. Posters urged people to donate rather than give directly to beggars. Joseph Goebbels, himself a high ranking Nazi in control of Radio, Television and Propaganda, often participated in these events.

But how was the cost of this met? Largely from the stealing of belongings from those people considered enemies of the regime. The Nazi government stole immense amounts of money from their population and used it to fund a social welfare scheme that favored select members of society. Modern schemes modeled on this system are funded by taxes that steal from everyone.

Pictured above is a canister used for the Winter Relief Fund effort.

Nazi Volkswagen

Literally meaning “People’s Car”, this vehicle was presented as a car that every German citizen could afford to buy. It was based on the advice of Hitler to the designer, saying that it should resemble a beetle. The car was a huge success (it was made available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme at 990 Reichsmark, about the price of a small motorcycle), but toward the end of the war resources were low and public availability declined. The Volkswagen emerged more as a military vehicle toward the end of the Third Reich.

However this has not stopped it from being one of the most popular vehicles in the world, known for reliability, stylish design (though some might question that!) and ease of use.

Old Autobahn De

While not originally conceived by the Nazis, Hitler was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea and pushed for the largest network of roads to be built across Germany. Established as the first freeway system in the world, the autobahn was a revolutionary feat of engineering that forever changed the way humans travel. Thousands of countries have emulated the system Hitler put in place, including America and Britain. It is single handedly the largest network of roadways in the world, with roads stretching all across the country, even to other countries such as Austria.

The construction of this roadway wasn’t only revolutionary in itself, it provided over 100,000 workers with jobs necessary for the economic recovery efforts. It was a goal of the Nazi party to try and bring the country into a sense of unity through the roadway system, and for the most part it was successful. Aircraft was tested on the long, smooth, straight sections of road and Grand Prix racing teams are known to practice on them.


The man who invented rockets as we know them today, Wernher Von Braun, was a member of the Nazi party and commissioned Schutzstaffel Officer. He aided both Germany and the United States in the use of rockets during and after WW2, and eventually became a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Although he pioneered many areas, including the installation of liquid-fueled rockets in aircraft and orbit to ground missiles, he is best known for his achievements in NASA.

His best achievement there was undoubtedly the development of the Saturn V booster rocket, that helped man to finally touch the moon, in July 1969. Von Braun officially opened the gate to space travel through his innovative inventions…as well as creating one of the most destructive methods of war known to mankind.


The Nazis were very interested in both film and music as propaganda techniques and essential cultural pillars. The first known magnetic tape recording was of a speech made by Hitler, and Joseph Goebbels pushed for more complicated methods of filming.

For example, the propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Will’, the sequel to the former propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Faith’, is regarded as one of the most important pieces of cinematographic history. The director, Leini Riefenstahl (pictured above) used an astounding thirty film cameras and over one hundred technicians to produce the two hour film. Since Triumph of the Will had an unlimited budget, the latest technologies were used. Cranes and track-rail filming were used, techniques still used today to make a smooth ‘traveling’ effect.

Ultimately, the propaganda films are dead, but the techniques developed at the time are seen regularly in the latest great Hollywood blockbusters.

Boss 1933 Adv

The Nazi style of uniform was as bold as their style of government. Thick-soled leather boots, slouch hats, cowhide coats, and peak hats were some of the staples in Nazi fashion, as well as muted color tones often in gray, tan and black. The SS Panzer military organization struck fear into the hearts of their adversaries, with black forage caps and leather coats which were later adopted by American rockers. Doc Martens closely resemble the jump boots that many Schutzstaffel officers wore. Look around at any rock, industrial or otherwise ‘edgy’ group and you see small traces of Nazi fashion sense. The American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once described the style as ‘mildly theatrical’.

Additionally, the founder of Adidas, Adolf Dassler (whose nickname was Adi), was a Nazi. He produced shoes for the Wehrmacht during the war, as well was providing American and Nazi athletes with his footwear during the Berlin Olympics. This created national acclaim when Jesse Owens won the sprinting event at the Berlin Olympics wearing Adolf Dassler’s shoes. Adidas is now a multinational company, supplying athletes all over the world with a supply of footwear and sports accessories.

His brother, Rudolf Dassler, was the more ardent Nazi of the two brothers and went on to found another proficient sports company…Puma. Oh – and Hugo Boss was a Nazi who, from 1934, was an official supplier of uniforms to the SA, SS, Hitler Youth, NSKK and other Party organizations (as evidenced in the advertisement above).


The death of ethics from medicine in Nazi Germany was a sinful, reckless, and dangerous decision, leading to untold atrocities; it has created one of the most extensive ethical controversies in history. Through the Nazi use of torture they discovered information that is discretely used by doctors and medical scientists today. For example, the Nazis extensively studied and monitored hypothermia, at Dachau concentration camp, by subjecting victims to severe torture. The Nazis immersed victims in vats of freezing water or left them out in the winter cold, all the while monitoring changes in body temperature, heart rate, muscle responses and urine. These tests were initially performed on volunteer soldiers, but the Nazis were not satisfied that they had all the information they could get and began to test on concentration camp victims. They attempted to formulate methods to bring the bodies back to a safe temperature, including the “Rapid Active Rewarming” technique that seemed to be the most effective method of revival – and is used today in the west. This research could potentially fill a gap in other researchers studying hypothermia.

A fascinating and extensive article on the ethics involved can be found here.

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10 Deadly Warnings The World Ignored

Every so often, a disaster comes along that’s so catastrophically, unfairly, life-shatteringly ginormous the whole world sits up and pays attention. Most of them, like the Asian Tsunami or Spanish Flu, seemingly spring up from nowhere, trailing chaos in their wake. But, just occasionally, you get a planet-sized catastrophe that we’ve not only known about for years, but we’ve been too darn lazy to do a thing about it.

10The Haiti Earthquake


In 2010, an earthquake of terrifying proportions hit the Republic of Haiti. Thousands were killed, whole villages annihilated, and the capital turned into a wasteland of ruins and suffering. For geologist Claude Prepetit, it was validation of the worst possible kind.

Since 1998, researchers had been predicting a major earthquake in the region at some point. With such a vague prediction, it’s almost understandable that officials ignored them, but Prepetit had taken that original research and made it frighteningly relevant. The quake, he was convinced, would hit Haiti worst, where the number of illegally constructed buildings in Port au Prince would turn his country’s capital into a “vast cemetery.” Over the course of a frantic year, Prepetit wrote papers on the subject, spoke before international audiences, and contacted government officials directly, but Haiti’s leaders simply didn’t listen. When they could have been spending money to tear down unstable buildings and construct earthquake-proof ones, they were instead blowing the budget on expensive 4x4s to cruise around in. Finally, on January 12, 2010, the inevitable happened.

9The Fukushima Meltdown


The 2011 Japanese earthquake was a disaster on a near-unprecedented scale. A magnitude 9.0 quake was followed by a devastating tsunami, which was in turn followed by possibly the worst nuclear accident in history. It was exactly the sort of catastrophe that no one could have predicted. No one, that is, but Koji Minoura.

Twenty years before a gigantic wave sent the Fukushima reactor critical, Minoura was investigating a reference in an ancient poem to a tsunami in Northeast Japan. Digging through historical records, he uncovered the Jogan Event—an earthquake and tsunami that killed 1,000 people in A.D. 869. By the late 1980s, he had traveled to the site and uncovered some startling evidence that this part of Japan got routinely flattened by a tsunami every 1,000 years or so. And the next one was way overdue. Over the next 20 years, Minoura produced a flurry of work warning about the inevitable annihilation of the Fukushima area. His articles made it into magazines, periodicals, and journals—all of which were completely ignored. Two years after his predicted tsunami hit, parts of Japan are still in ruins and the reactor still poses an immediate danger.

8The Dangers Of Asbestos


Asbestos is one of the 19th century’s big mistakes. Recognized for its strength and resistance to fire, manufacturers began splashing the stuff around by the bucket load. For nearly 100 years, it cropped up just about everywhere, despite causing lung cancer, disease, and early death.

People had suspected since the early 1900s that asbestos might be dangerous, with a high rate of illness and death being reported around asbestos-mining towns. But it wasn’t until 1938 that a study commissioned by asbestos manufacturers conclusively proved that it was basically airborne death. At this point, those same manufacturers suppressed the findings and denied all knowledge of them. The result was illness and poverty for hundreds of thousands of workers. Because there was “no proof” linking asbestos to lung cancer, those who came down with it were ineligible for compensation. Companies frequently just dropped them, leaving them and their families to die in penniless misery. As late as 1992, asbestos companies were still refusing to shell out money to their dying ex-workers, claiming there was little evidence of a link between asbestos and illness.

So when did we finally get around to banning this murder-product? Guess what: We still haven’t.

7The Financial Crash


Unless you’ve been living in a cave or off a trust fund, you’ve probably heard of the recent financial crash. Now, there are a lot of people out there who claim they predicted the banking collapse, but only one came close to actually averting it.

Meet Brooksley E. Born. In 1996, she was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a government body intended to keep a watch on the financial markets. At the time, Wall Street was booming from the effects of deregulation. The rich were getting richer, the less-rich were becoming the new rich, and even the poor were getting a slice of the pie. One of the centerpieces of this wealth explosion were something called financial derivatives. In the halcyon days of 1996, no one could imagine they had the power to turn a regular financial crisis into the type of crash unheard of since the ’30s. No one, that is, except Brooksley Born.

Almost from the moment she entered the CFTC, Born was fighting to reign in credit-swap derivatives—a move that could have lessened or even averted the recent meltdown. Unfortunately, her warnings came to the attention of free-market advocate Alan Greenspan, who lobbied Congress to strip the CFTC of its power, arguing that Born’s anti-derivatives stance would “cause a financial crisis.” Completely failing to anticipate the dramatic irony, Congress sided with Greenspan, stripped the CFTC of its powers, and forced Born out—resulting in recession, mass-unemployment, skyrocketing prices, and half a decade of political instability.

6History’s Deadliest Avalanche


In 1962, graduates David Bernays and Charles Sawyer were unwinding with a long climbing expedition through the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in Peru. Between feats of manliness and posing against epic backdrops, they decided to examine a glacier known only as “511,” the suspected source of an avalanche that occurred a few years beforehand. What they discovered was enough to put them off their expedition.

Glacier 511 was unstable. As in seriously unstable: The whole thing was basically one push away from obliterating everything in the valley below—a valley that just happened to be home to several thousand people. Returning to civilization, Bernays and Sawyer did what anyone would do and alerted the authorities, who promptly threw them in jail for causing a panic. After two weeks of struggling to be heard, the duo eventually recanted their claims and returned home. Unfortunately for the Peruvian authorities, their victory was short-lived: On May 31, 1970, an earthquake in the region triggered the world’s deadliest avalanche. Glacier 511 and more collapsed, burying over 25,000 people under a wall of ice and rock.

5Leaded Gas


In the early 1960s, scientist Clair Patterson made a worrying discovery. Our air was absolutely swimming with lead, hundreds of times more than when our ancestors roamed the Earth. This was bad news: Lead is super-toxic. Prolonged exposure can result in anything from anemia to constipation to death. Being a scientist, Patterson decided to trace the source of all this murder-air and discovered it was due to leaded gasoline being used in cars. Manufacturers of leaded gasoline took one look at his findings and decided to destroy his life.

For the best part of a decade, companies with friends in high places hounded Patterson from jobs, cut his research funding, and generally went out of their way to discredit him. Pseudoscientists were wheeled out to declare lead was perfectly safe, and the whole country kept happily pumping it into the atmosphere, painting their walls with it, and using it in food. It took until 1970 for Patterson to get the Clean Air Act passed, and a further 17 years to get lead banned from gasoline. Some 30 years after his research conclusively proved all this lead was toxic to us, the government finally removed it from food containers and paint—a delay that means the average American now has 625 times more lead in their blood than people in the 19th century. That ain’t a number to be proud of.

4The Wall Street Crash

Wall Street

The 1929 Wall Street Crash was the mother of all financial meltdowns. Forget our current recession: The Crash ushered in the Great Depression, a time of 25 percent unemployment, mass internal migration, and groaning misery for millions. And one guy saw it all coming.

On September 5, 1929, economist Roger Babson famously gave a speech where he predicted an impending crash, claiming it would be absolutely “terrific.” Slightly less than two months later, Black Tuesday hit and irreversibly changed the course of world history. Over $5 billion was wiped out of the economy, a figure which is almost beyond calculating in today’s money. The Depression was ushered in and a decade of misery sparked off, culminating in FDR, the New Deal, and a whole new political consensus. Now, predicting an event a mere two months in advance may not sound so impressive, even when it’s of epoch-shaking magnitude, but according to The Guardian, Babson had been warning about the Crash for years. We only remember his September 5th speech because of the timing. The reality is, this guy was a modern-day Cassandra, and everyone ignored him until it was too late.

3Tobacco’s Cancer Link

Young woman smoking cigarette

If you want to witness evil in action, look no further than Big Tobacco in the 20th century. For decades, firms like Phillip Morris and Imperial got stinking rich pushing people into early graves, shilling their products to babies, and generally acting like the standard cartoon cliche of a soulless multinational. But the lowest point of all has to be their active suppression of studies warning about a link between smoking and cancer.

As early as 1930, German researchers had noticed a correlation between the two. By the 1940s, it was pretty much conclusive. Want to guess how Big Tobacco reacted? That’s right! By spending the next six decades smearing the science. When people began to worry about the effects of smoking in the ’50s, they set up a phony scientific council to counter the claims. When the Surgeon General conclusively linked smoking to a range of health problems in 1989, they rejected the findings. Unbelievably, last year Imperial Tobacco still continued to claim smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Thanks in part to that evil, over 100 million people died from smoking in the 20th century alone. That’s more than were killed by both world wars.

2The Rise Of Hitler


In 1919, Germany had ended World War I with an unconditional surrender. Not exactly in the mood for mercy, the Allies, led by the French, decided to slap the aggressive nation with a fine so unimaginably huge it would take them until 2010 to pay it off. As far as British economist John Maynard Keynes was concerned, this was a shortcut to disaster. By crippling the German economy with sanctions, the Allied nations would inevitably trigger panic, collapse, and a very, very dark time. Probably feeling like the character in a time travel movie who fails to alter the future, Keynes lobbied governments, wrote articles and, in a last ditch effort, published these prophetic words:

“If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation.”

Since this is an article on warnings that were ignored, you can probably guess what happened next. Keynes was brushed off, the German economy evaporated, extremism swept the nation, and an unknown artist called Adolf decided to give politics a whirl. Way to go, France.



In September 2012, the New York Times released the results of
an investigation into the Bush administration’s knowledge, in 2001, of an impending terrorist attack. The results were shocking. Far from being caught unawares, America had known for nearly a year that a devastating attack was imminent, but a combination of bureaucracy and bungling meant the warnings were ignored.

As early as June 22, 2001 it was known that Al-Qaeda strikes were imminent. There was good intelligence backing this up,: It had the blessing of the CIA, and was considered a certainty. Unfortunately, the politicians in the Pentagon stopped any action being taken and dismissed the report as a fabrication, one concocted by Saddam Hussein to distract attention from himself, despite such a theory making absolutely no sense. The rest of the Times’ report is a depressing litany of repeated warnings ignored, sources downplayed, and the CIA reduced to begging the President to take notice. On June 29th, July 9th, July 24th, and August 6th, the issue was raised with extreme urgency, and it was batted aside each time. The result of this bungling was the single worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on American soil, the deaths of 3,000 people, a decade of war, and the erosion of our civil liberties. All because the government was apparently too obsessed with an Iraqi dictator to believe its own intelligence services.

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15 Incredible Historical Photographs

This is a selection of photographs of some of the most important or famous historical events that have occurred since photography was invented. In 1884, George Eastman developed the technology of film to replace photographic plates, leading to the technology used by film cameras today; nevertheless, many images exist from before that time that we taken via other photographic methods. Click the photographs for a larger view.

1. The First Photograph [France, 1826]

800Px-View From The Window At Le Gras, Joseph Nice?phore Nie?pce

Taken by Nicéphore Niépce, this is the first photograph ever taken which still exists. He called his method heliography (sun writing) and this photograph took 8 hours of exposure time (hence sunlight on both sides of the building).

2. Looking Down Sacramento Street [San Francisco, 1906]

San Francisco Fire Sacramento Street 1906-04-18

This photo was taken on April 18th, 1906. It is the most famous photograph of the devastation caused by the great fire and earthquake. It was taken by Arnold Genthe on a borrowed camera.

3. Breaker Boys [Pennsylvania, 1910]


This is a photograph of breaker boys – child labour used to separate coal from slate. This image helped lead the nation to outlaw child labour. The photo was taken by Lewis Hine who travelled the United States taking photographs of child labourers.

4. The Lynching of Young Blacks [Indiana, 1930]


This photograph was taken after the lynching of two young black men accused of raping a white girl. They were hanged by a mob of 10,000. The faces of the crowd are very telling. A third man was saved by the girls uncle who said he was innocent.

5. Migrant Mother [Oklahoma, 1936]


This photograph of Florence Owens Thompson (32 year old mother of 7) is one of the great representations of the Great Depression. The photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange after Florence had sold her tent to provide food for her children.

6. Hitler in Paris [Paris, 1940]


This photograph was taken of Adolf Hitler visiting Paris with his architect Albert Speer, on June 23, 1940. Hitler’s army had captured Paris and Hitler went to admire his new City.

7. The Last Jew in Vinnitsa [Ukraine, 1941]

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This was found in the personal album of an Einsatzgruppen soldier. It was labelled on the back “The last Jew of Vinnitsa”. All 28,000 of the Jews living there were killed at the time.

8. V-J Day [New York, 1945]

The Kiss

This is one of the most famous photographs from the Second World War. The soldier and the nurse are unknown but people have come forward to claim the fame. Apparently the nurse slapped the soldier immediately after. The event was the celebration of the end of the war and it was taken in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

9. Soviet Flag raised above the Reichstag [Berlin, 1945]

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Soviet Union soldiers Raqymzhan Qoshqarbaev, and Georgij Bulatov raising the flag on the roof of Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany in May, 1945. The photograph was taken by Yevgeny Khaldei.

10. Vatican II Begins [Vatican City, 1960]

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This is a photograph of Pope John XXIII signing the document that officially started the Second Vatican Council. After his death, Pope Paul VI continued the council which was to change the Catholic Church so much that has become barely a reflection of what it was before. On his deathbed, John XXIII is rumoured to have said “Stop the council!”

11. The Body of Che Guevara [Bolivia, 1967]


After capturing and killing Guevara (Marxist revolutionary), the Bolivian army showed this photograph to prove that he was dead. His death dealt a death blow to the socialist revolutionary movement in Latin America and the Third World.

12. Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla [Vietnam, 1968]


Photographer Eddie Adams took this photograph of Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnam’s national police chief executing this Viet Cong captain. Adams later said that he regretted that the world did not see Loan as a hero for his actions in Vietnam.

13. Footprint on the Moon [Lunar, 1969]

594Px-Apollo 11 Bootprint

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong put his left foot on the rocky Moon. It was the first human footprint on the Moon. They had taken TV cameras with them. The first footprints on the Moon will be there for a million years. This photograph was taken by Buzz Aldrin.

14. Phan Thi Kim Phúc [Vietnam, 1972]


The girl in the centre of this photograph is 9 year olf Kim Phúc. She is running from a napalm attack which caused serious burns on her back. The boy is her older brother. Both survived. This photo (by Huynh Cong Ut) became one of the most published of the Vietnam war.

15. Tiananmen Square [China, 1989]

051201 Tiananmen-Square Ex

Probably the most famous image from the student uprising in China in 1989, this photograph shows a single person blocking the tanks that were emerging on the square. The man survived but shortly after the square was filled with innocent blood.

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20 Amazing Color Images of the First World War

Armistice Day (11 November – dedicated by King George V) is the day in which the nations of the World War I allies remember the brave who died. It is known as Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in some countries. It seems fitting that we should have a list on the topic as our own way to say thank you to the many men and women who gave their lives for the protection of our way of life.








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In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sources: Google Images, Heritage of the Great War, and World War I Color Photos

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25 Significant Historic Events On New Year’s Day

Today begins a new year – two thousand and nine. To celebrate the new year, I have put together a list of significant events that have happened in man’s history on this day. It was not until the 16th century that the majority of countries in the West began to use January 1st as the first day of the year – prior to that many nations used the Feast of the Assumption (March 25). This list includes only events that happened on January 1st. The list is in chronological order. Happy New Year!


1 404 AD – The last known gladiatorial competition in Rome takes place (gladiators pictured above)

2 630 – Muhammad sets out toward Mecca with the army that captures it bloodlessly.

3 1515 – King Francis I of France (France’s first Renaissance monarch) succeeds to the French throne.

4 1772 – The first traveler’s cheques, which can be used in 90 European cities, go on sale in London.

5 1788 – First edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published.


6 1800 – The Dutch East India Company (the first international mega-corporation) is dissolved.

7 1801 – The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

8 1804 – French rule ends in Haiti. Haiti becomes the first black republic and first independent country in the West Indies.

9 1808 – The importation of slaves into the United States is banned.

10 1863 – American Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation (pictured above) takes effect in Confederate territory.

Edmund Barton

11 1877 – Queen Victoria of Britain is proclaimed Empress of India.

12 1892 – Ellis Island opens to begin processing immigrants into the United States.

13 1901 – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton (pictured above) is appointed the first Prime Minister.

14 1902 – The first American college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, is held in Pasadena.

15 1908 – For the first time, a ball is dropped in New York City’s Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.

Alcatraz Aerial

16 1925 – The American astronomer Edwin Hubble announces the discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way.

17 1934 – Alcatraz Island (pictured above) becomes a United States federal prison.

18 1934 – Nazi Germany passes the “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring”.

19 1956 – A new year event causes panic and stampedes at Yahiko Shrine, Yahiko, central Niigata, Japan, killing at least 124 people.

20 1958 – The European Community is established.

21 1959 – Fulgencio Batista, president of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro’s forces during the Cuban Revolution.

22 1962 – United States Navy SEALs established.

23 1971 – Cigarette advertisements are banned on American television (vintage cigarette commercial above).

24 1978 – Air India Flight 855 Boeing 747 crashes into the sea, due to instrument failure and pilot disorientation, off the coast of Bombay, killing 213.

25 1985 – The first British mobile phone call is made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Contributor: JFrater

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10 Amazing Sea Survival Stories

Tales of survival at sea and on its most inhospitable islands have fascinated man since he first set sail into the deep blue unknown. Collected here are 10 of the most incredible such tales.

10 Pedro de Serrano

Pedro de Serrano is considered the OG of castaway survival. It’s not clear how the Spaniard’s ship sank or how he alone ended up on an island in the Caribbean, but he did. He made it ashore with only the knife in his mouth and the shirt on his back.

The island was little more than a large strip of sand, nearly devoid of flora and shade. Also, this was still the New World, only about 50 years removed from Columbus getting lost there. Ships weren’t exactly popping up on the horizon on the regular and Serrano knew it.

Serrano’s physical survival depended on turtles. He killed the reptiles, ate their meat, and used the shells to collect water. With no other animals on the island, Serrano was unable to clothe himself when his clothing fell to rags. Serrano’s only relief from the sun was a dip in the ocean.

Three years went by before Serrano spotted a ship, which wrecked, dashing Serrano’s hopes of rescue. A single sailor survived and the current deposited him on Serrano’s island. Serrano—more beast than man—initially terrified the beleaguered sailor, but eventually the two were able to cooperate and preserved their sanity by observing a strict schedule each day.

Of course, sharing a strip of sand as one eats nothing but turtle meat and the sun boils one’s skin tends to make a person a little irritable. At some point during their four years together, Serrano and the other sailor split the island over an argument, each keeping half until another ship drew past, stopped, and rescued the two men after the survivors first attested they were not devils.

9 Jeronimus Cornelisz

Unlike most shipwrecked castaways, isolation wasn’t the problem after The Batavia ran aground in 1629. Hundreds of people made it to an island off the west coast of Australia, but the wreck was just the beginning of the ill-fated spice run’s troubles.

Cornelisz, one of the ship’s officers, had tried starting a mutiny when the Dutch East India Trading Company vessel wrecked. Afterward, the ship’s captain took a dinghy and 40 men to sail for Java, promising to come back to rescue the 300 survivors. With the captain gone, Cornelisz became the ranking officer. He had two worries: running out of supplies and being arrested for attempted mutiny if rescuers arrived.

Cornelisz began his reign of terror by hoarding all the salvaged provisions from The Batavia. Sailors loyal to him guarded the stockpile round the clock. To cull the survivors, Cornelisz and his men used the lifeboat and dropped groups off to search for water on other islands believed barren—and by “search,” Cornelisz meant “die,” because he had no intention of returning for any search party. Cornelisz planned on hijacking the rescue ship and wanted to eliminate any opposition on the island. He and his men executed survivors for minor offenses or none at all.

During the killing spree, a gathering party signaled that it had successfully found food and water on another island. Unfortunately for Cornelisz, that party was led by a soldier named Wiebbe Hayes, who had figured out Cornelisz’s deadly plan. Hayes’s 45 men defeated their heavily armed attackers with slingshots and pikes and imprisoned Cornelisz in a pit on the beach. Undaunted, surviving mutineers started bombarding Hayes’s position with cannon fire just as the promised rescue ship appeared on the horizon. Several months had passed and over 100 people had died at Cornelisz’s behest before the rescue ended the mutineers’ reign of terror.

8 Robert Drury

Drury was an English sailor on The Degrave in 1703. After the ship was damaged, the crew, including Drury, was forced to abandon it near Madagascar. However, making it to shore was the start of Drury’s problems. Remember the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in which Jack Sparrow is chased by an entire army of natives? It was kind of like that for Drury, only there was no ship to escape to.

Drury and the rest of the crew spent their first four days on Madagascar trying to evade some 2,000 Tandroy warriors. When the Tandroy finally caught the crew, they executed every man, but Drury and three other boys were spared—and then enslaved. Drury spent eight years as a royal manservant and worked hard enough to gain some manner of respect, eventually battling alongside his Tandroy captors. As a result, the Tandroy eventually granted Drury a degree of freedom, and he was allowed to marry a fellow captive and raise cattle of his own.

After almost 15 years as a slave, Drury escaped Madagascar alone, aboard an English slave ship. Drury’s wife refused to leave, fearing the Tandroy myth which promised an unnatural death to any slave who escaped. Drury struggled to find a place in English society, and in a bizarre twist, actually returned to Africa, but this time as a slaver.

7 Philip Ashton

Philip Ashton was minding his own business working on a fishing boat off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1723 when he and his fellow sailors were captured by pirates. The pirate captain, Ned Low, gave the men a choice—become pirates or die. Philip Ashton was 19. He chose “pirate.”

Ashton wanted no part of the cruelty and barbarism which now surrounded him, nor did he want to be executed for piracy when Captain Low’s luck finally ran out. Eight months into his pirate career, Ashton found his chance to escape. Low anchored off the coast of an island near Honduras and sent men, including Ashton, ashore to attain freshwater. As the men finished filling the ship’s casks with water from a stream, Ashton innocently strolled away. When his fellow pirates asked him what he was doing, Ashton yelled “Coconuts!” and took off into the jungle. A week later, the search for Ashton was over and he was alone. The island was plentiful with fruit and tortoise eggs, which was good, since Ashton was barefoot and empty-handed when he escaped.

That changed after nine months of isolation when a Spanish trader in a canoe stopped at the island. He promised to send help to Ashton’s island after he left. In the meantime, he left Ashton with a knife and flint, which allowed him to hunt and cook for the first time since being marooned. It was seven more months before another group of sailors would rescue Ashton.

6 The Crew Of The Peggy

American sloop The Peggy was returning to New York in 1765 after trading in the Azores. For almost the entire month of November, The Peggy struggled to cross the Atlantic as one storm after another pounded the ship. The mast, sails, and rigging were all damaged. The ship was adrift and it’s hull was leaking badly. What few provisions survived the storms were quickly exhausted as the crew worked desperately to keep The Peggy afloat. It was obvious the men of The Peggy would starve long before reaching land, even after the ship’s cat was killed and eaten. Their only hope was the unlikely chance another ship might pass nearby.

Initial talk of cannibalism among the crew was shut down by the captain, David Harrison, but it was futile. By mid-January, the crew had eaten all the leather and candles aboard the ship, and with Captain Harrison bedridden, the crew resorted to cannibalism. The customary lottery was mere pretense—it seems the crew had already decided Harrison’s black manservant should be the one to make the ultimate “sacrifice.”

At the end of January, the body of the servant was gone and the captain clung to life on a mixture of water and rum rather than take part in the cannibalistic proceedings. A second lottery was conducted, but the victim, David Flatt, was granted a night’s reprieve to pray thanks to the pleas of a haggard Captain Harrison. Miraculously, a London-bound ship brought salvation to all aboard The Peggy—including Flatt—the next morning. The crew of The Peggy had been preparing a fire to cook the next victim when the captain of The Susan provided the starving sailors with food, tackle, and escort to London.

5 Robert Jeffery

Robert Jeffery was a young sailor in the Royal Navy in 1807. While aboard the HMS Recruit, he sneaked an extra drink of beer. The captain, who may have been drunk himself, responded to the offense by marooning the 18-year-old on the next island the ship passed. Jeffery was left on a rocky outcropping with no food or water as the crew begged their captain to reconsider. Jeffery’s story would have ended soon after, had an American ship not rescued him just nine days later. In fact, the “case” of Robert Jeffery was just beginning.

The public was outraged by the Captain’s behavior and court martial followed. In 1810, when the missing Robert Jeffery was found living in Massachusetts working as a blacksmith, another public fervor erupted. Jeffery’s mother was still alive and well in England and the British citizenry demanded they be reunited. A Royal Navy vessel was dispatched and the public waited in suspense for its—and Jeffery’s—return.

When Robert Jeffery finally arrived back in his hometown in England, church bells and waiting crowds greeted him. The press and public watched as mother and son reunited in heartfelt excitement. One last public outcry served to help Robert Jeffery—the captain who had marooned Jeffery three years earlier was found and compelled to pay his former crewman reparations for having nearly killed him.

4 Charles Barnard

Captain Charles Barnard spotted smoke while on a sealing expedition near the Falklands in 1812. When he investigated, he found 45 shipwrecked British sailors. Barnard promised to deliver them to the nearest South American port so long as they promised not to hijack the ship, since the War of 1812 was raging up north. Proof that no good deed goes unpunished, when Barnard stopped at another island and went ashore in a small boat to hunt pigs to feed everyone aboard, the Brits he rescued from certain death sailed away in his ship. What Barnard likely never imagined was that the British would leave three of their own to die with him.

Barnard, his one fellow American, and the three British sailors survived for 18 months on various islands and in their rowboat until a British ship rescued them in 1814. Barnard and his companions, now all “Americans,” asked to be put ashore in his boat off the coast of Peru, only to be identified and imprisoned as Englishmen by the Spaniards. It took months for Barnard to clear his name, but he found passage again on a British ship and again asked to be cut loose in his little seal boat, this time to do some sealing. Barnard didn’t find the seals he’d hoped for, but he did find an American ship which offered him passage. Barnard accepted and sailed to China and the Sandwich islands before returning to America in 1816.

3 The Crew Of The Essex

Whale watching
The accounts of the whaleboat The Essex directly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, as The Essex was to the “19th century what the Titanic was to the 20th.”

In 1819, The Essex left Nantucket for what was expected to be a two-and-a-half-year whaling expedition. On the second day of the voyage, strong storms seriously damaged the ship and threatened to sink it, but the ship was refitted and pressed onward. Several months later and a thousand miles from land, an enormous whale rammed the ship. As the crew started to assess the damage, the whale struck the ship again, holing the ship so viciously, the men aboard hurriedly lowered the boats and grabbed a few provisions.

The 20 men, spread across three boats, decided to head south for fear of cannibals on the nearest land, the Marquesas Islands. It was a fateful decision. Within weeks, the boats were leaky and the food stores were gone. The first man who died was immediately consumed. Three more sailors died and each was cooked and eaten. One of the three boats disappeared, never to be heard from again. The other two boats, one led by Captain Pollard and the other headed by First Mate Owen Chase, became separated.

After 89 days at sea, the three men on Chase’s boat were rescued by an English ship. Aboard Pollard’s boat, the men drew lots and Pollard’s younger cousin was next eaten, though Pollard asked to take his place. A week after Chase was rescued, an American ship found Pollard and another crewman gnawing on the bones of their shipmates, still crazed with hunger. Decades later, Melville met the captain who inspired his fiction, but only exchanged pleasantries out of respect for Pollard’s ordeal.

2 The Other Survivors Of The Essex

Not long after the crew in their whaleboats departed the foundering Essex, they spotted what is now Henderson Island. The men went ashore thinking of salvation, only to find a barren wasteland. Despite the island’s lack of freshwater and food, three men chose to chance it and stay behind. At the very least, the three boats’ meager supplies might go a little farther that way.

It proved a comparatively good choice, though the situation was almost always desperate. Rainwater which collected in rock pools around the island helped slake the men’s thirst, but food was difficult to come by. They lacked the equipment to fish and quickly devoured the crabs that inhabited the small island. The trio was reduced to drinking the blood of whatever birds they could catch and found a poignant portend of their likely future when they stumbled across the skeletons of several previous castaways.

Nearly every resource on the island had been exhausted during the 111 days the men spent there. Were it not for Owen Chase beckoning his rescuers to search the Pitcairn Islands, the three crew members left behind on Henderson would almost certainly have died of thirst, as the previous castaways to find themselves on the island did.

1 Bernard Carnot

Not much is known about Bernard Carnot. All that is know for certain is that he was the son of a New Orleans innkeeper, and through a series of misunderstandings, he was convicted of a murder he did not commit and sent to Devil’s Island in 1922 part of the French penal colony system off the coast French Guiana.

Devil’s Island, as the name suggests, is hell on earth. It’s a rocky jungle of an island, rife with tropical disease, mosquitoes, and prisoner-on-prisoner violence. It was surrounded by sharks, as well as currents that had a tendency to dash one against the rocks which surround Devil’s island.

After sixteen years, almost all record and trace of Carnot had disappeared—that is, until an American Don Quixote, William Willis, met Carnot’s mother in New York. Hearing Carnot’s mother’s tale, Willis traveled to South America and enlisted the help of ex-convicts and current prisoners within the penal colony to find Carnot and help the him escape. When Carnot was found, he was barely alive and wearing nothing but rags. Willis provided him with a fake passport, money, and clothing, then smuggled Carnot aboard a supply ship which took him to Brazil. As if he hadn’t suffered enough, it’s believed that Carnot may have been killed in action after joining the French forces under Charles de Gaulle during World War II.

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10 Famous Boycotts

When Irish land agent Charles Boycott had to evict nonpaying tenants, he found himself an economic and social pariah. His employees stopped working in the fields, the stables, even in his own house. Local businessmen wouldn’t take his money, and the postman refused to deliver his mail. Boycott imported labor to tend the crops, but the added expense consumed the revenues generated by the harvest.

Boycott’s name quickly became the byword for economic ostracism in English, French, Dutch, German and Russian. We still use boycotts today for nonviolent protest and consumer activism. Submitted for your approval are 10 Famous Boycotts, escalating from silly to serious.


We’ll start light and get progressively heavier. So first, a stereotype: All teenage girls do is shop, right?

As if. In 2005, 24 teenagers started a “girlcott” against youth retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. While acknowledging the attempt at humor, the girls took offense at T-shirts with “Who needs brains when you have these?’ and “I had a nightmare I was a brunette” on the front. They claimed the slogans degrade women and contribute to unhealthy body images for young girls.

Sarah Gould, president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, concurred, saying the slogans “reinforce the message that girls are only as good as what their bodies are, and that’s very undermining to a girl’s healthy development”. Abercrombie & Fitch pulled the offending shirts a month later (likely after inventory ran out, and smirking at the free publicity).


Since its origins in the nineties, the purpose of International Buy Nothing Day is to provide a moment of pause from the rampant overconsumption in western economies. IBND takes place in Canada and the United States on Black Friday (the day after the fourth Thursday in November—the busiest shopping day in North America). In the rest of the world the boycott happens the following Saturday, which begins their consumer run-up to Christmas.


Some boycotts are logical, even noble, but there are also Pilates exercises in stupidity. Case in Point: striking RITE AID pharmacy workers in Cleveland, Ohio.

In March 2011, Rite Aid Pharmacy experienced a strike at six union stores in the Cleveland metro area. This strike is unusual because picketers were holding up signs saying “Don’t Shop Rite Aid”. That’s no longer just a strike: it’s a call to boycott. According to Ohio law, unions may not call for boycotts against businesses that force workers to join a union. By calling for consumers to shop elsewhere, the unions violated that law. Further complicating matters is that Rite Aid has both union and non-union stores in Cleveland.

And it’s not like the timing’s great, either. Rite Aid’s in pretty bad financial shape, and an illegal boycott probably puts union stores at the top of the store closure list. Sure, the unions may win loads of concessions in contract negotiations, but if the company can’t afford union stores it will just eliminate them and keep the non-union stores running.

Worse, aren’t the strikers sending career-limiting messages to their employer? Can you imagine interviewing for a promotion? “Oh. Karlson. I remember you. Weren’t you outside telling my customers to shop at CVS?”


Lysistrata is one of the few surviving plays by Greek dramatist Aristophanes. Fed up with the Peloponnesian war, and after a LOT of effort, heroine Lysistrata convinces Athenian women to barricade themselves in the Acropolis and withhold sex until their lovers negotiate peace with Sparta. Far-fetched, funny, and definitely rated NC-XVII.

And life imitates art. In 2002, former professor Samira Ahmed launched an altar campaign in Sudan, encouraging wives to abandon sexual relations with their husbands until the second Sudanese Civil War ended. Thousands of Sudanese women answered the call, and the war dragged on until a peace treaty was signed in 2005. Coincidence? All we know for sure is that cigarette sales spiked 20 minutes later.

Boycott Israel

The Arab League has boycotted Israeli goods and services since the founding of Israel in 1948. Their stated goal is to isolate Israel economically, and discourage Jewish immigration to the Middle East.

The boycott has three parts, just like Neapolitan ice cream. The chocolate/primary boycott prohibits importing Israeli-made goods and services. The vanilla/secondary boycott prohibits doing business with anyone trading with Israel. The strawberry/useless third boycott prohibits doing business with anyone on the Arab League’s (unenforced) blacklist.

Most Middle East merchants (anonymously) agree the boycott is mainly for show, and it waxes/wanes with Arab-Israeli tensions. It gets absurd in places –from Saudi border guards delaying tourists with “Israel” on their passport (they claim they don’t know where “Israel” is), to Iranian wrestlers withdrawing from competition prior to a match with an Israeli athlete.

Frankly, the boycott just isn’t that big a deal: since intra-region trade with Israel is so small, the impact of the ban is negligible. (When the boycott relaxed in the early 90s, foreign countries exported cars to Israel for the first time. A study found that, if the boycott had been enforced, the Israeli auto market would have been only 12% smaller. Ironically, to hurt Israel the Arab League would do better to first trade more with it).

Many Arab nations have since ended the charade. See? Greed conquers all.


In 2009, after years of complaints about Black-on-Asian violence (and 30 separate attacks in a single day), 26 Asian-American students stopped attending South Philadelphia High School. Their boycott lasted over a week and publicly aired accusations that the school administration mishandled evidence, ignored eyewitness accounts, and even blamed Asian-American students for inciting attacks on themselves.

After news of the boycott went public, administrators transferred 10 students to other schools, and increased the number of security guards and surveillance cameras. But by then, it was too late. The public demanded a federal investigation, which quickly “found merit”; in the complaints and later ruled the school had been “deliberately indifferent” to ongoing harassment of Asian students.

The result? While never acknowledging any wrongdoing, the school agreed to state and federal oversight as it addressed racial violence at the school. A new principal arrived in July 2010, and the administration reports a 50 % decrease in attacks for 2011.

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Following a series of foreign policy setbacks, US President Jimmy Carter issued an ultimatum that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan. When the USSR refused, Carter led over 60 nations to boycott the 1980 summer games.

Japan, West Germany, China, the Philippines, Argentina and Canada quickly joined in. The UK and France supported the boycott, but left the decision to the individual athlete. So Spain, Italy, Sweden, Iceland and Finland represented Western Europe, along with a few Americans with dual citizenship in other countries. Many athletes marched under the Olympic Flag in place of their national flag, and replaced their national anthems with the Olympic anthem (in some events, the medals ceremonies raised three identical Olympic Flags).

NOTE: Besides the athletes, do you know who the real loser of the 1980 boycott was? Broadcaster NBC, which paid $85 million for the TV rights. That price tag included $61 million to the Russians, who saw no need to give it back. Fortunately, some finance whiz at NBC thought to insure the project with Lloyd’s of London, and NBC only ate about $4 mil.)

The Soviets returned the favor in 1984, and passed on the summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. They issued a statement saying that the Soviet Union would boycott the 1984 summer games due to ‘chauvinistic sentiments and anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States.” Thirteen Soviet allies joined the boycott.

NOTE: The real loser of the 1984 boycott was McDonald’s, which held an American promotion promising a free Big Mac for every gold medal the US won. With no ‘roided out East Germans or Russians around, the US breezed to over 90 gold medals, triple the amount McDonald’s budgeted for. (Guess they didn’t have a finance whiz –or a sports fan– in the Promotions department).


In June 1767, Parliament cut British land taxes, and tried to finance its troops in the Colonies by over taxing the colonists. So they passed the Townshend Acts, which taxed items like paper, lead, glass, paint and tea shipped from England. The Brits thought indirectly taxing imported goods would fare better than the repealed Stamp Act (a direct tax on printed materials). Sounds reasonable, right?

The Colonists were livid, and reacted in what passed for ‘immediately’ in Colonial times. New York and Boston boycotted all British goods in August 1768. Philadelphia joined in March 1769, and by that October the boycott spread to New Jersey, Rhode Island and North Carolina. Seeing the Colonists united in their opposition to the Townshend Acts, King George III sent more troops into the Colonies, insisting that you can put a fire out with gasoline, if you just throw it hard enough.

However, history shows the non-importation movement wasn’t as effective as the Colonists hoped. British exports to the colonies did decline by 38% in 1769, but some merchants never participated in the ban. The boycott sputtered in 1770, and quietly died in 1771. However, an indirect result of the boycott was that American women gained a greater place in society because they still had to provide many of the refined goods normally imported from Britain.

The Townshend Acts were repealed in March of 1770, except for the taxes on tea (and we all know how well that turned out).


The Delano grape strike was a strike/boycott/protest led by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) against growers of table grapes in California.

The protest began on September 8, 1965 when Filipino farm workers in Delano, California, walked off the job. At the time, farm laborers were among the lowest-paid workers in the US, and all they wanted were wages equal to the federal minimums ‘enjoyed’ by other workers. A week after the strike began, Cesar Chavez’ Mexican-American National Farmworkers Association joined in, forming what eventually became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

The strike was noted for its grassroots organization: community marches, aggressive consumer boycotts, a little longshoreman sabotage, and steadfast non-violence. The public was especially attracted to the farmworkers’ peaceful protests, and consumers even helped identify fake labels used by grape growers seeking to bypass the boycott.

At its height, more than 14 million Americans were refusing to buy grapes. In 1969, the pressure became too much to bear, and Delano growers signed historic contracts with the UFW.


In 1955, Rosa Parks was riding a bus home from work and was ordered to yield her seat to a white passenger. This was Alabama law at the time, and some black men had already started toward the back to make room for her in the ‘Colored’ section. But Ms. Parks refused out of principle, and authorities arrested her.

News spread fast, and community organizer Jo Ann Robinson distributed a pamphlet stressing an overlooked economic point: blacks were ¾ of the Montgomery bus clientele. Blacks had more power than they thought, if they had the courage to wield it.

To make her point, Robinson implored blacks to not ride any buses the following Monday. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted the success of that Monday Boycott, and used his Montgomery Improvement Association to encourage all blacks to keep the boycott going.

Carpools emerged overnight, black taxi drivers charged only a dime for black passengers, and some white employers (ironically) drove their black servants to work. Lloyd’s of London even insured carpool vehicles when US insurers were pressured to drop them. The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted until December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling (Browder v. Gayle) led the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional.

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10 Of The Most Hardcore Quotes In The History Of War

Quotes are often excellent for capturing a romanticized spirit of war. They offer glimpses of courage, usually without hinting at the pain or complications of combat. In reality, most of us would be too scared or distracted to say anything particularly memorable while our lives were in danger. Not like these people.

10William Darby


“Onward we stagger. And if the tanks come, then God help the tanks!”

That quote comes from the commander of the 1st Rangers Battalion and a soldier who so distinguished himself that the unit became known as “Darby’s Rangers.” The unit was among the first American ground forces to see action against the Nazis, beginning in Tunisia. During that time, Darby made very good on his boast. According to his citations for Distinguished Service, he personally oversaw the destruction of several German tanks with light artillery and grenades. He was also known for personally reconnoitering German positions. A rumor went around that at one point a courier visited Rangers headquarters. When he asked some soldiers where Darby was, one of the Rangers quipped “You’ll never find him this far back!”

Sadly, Darby did not get away with such bold actions forever. On April 30, 1945, he was killed in action when a tiny shell fragment hit him in the heart. It was only one week before Germany surrendered and on the same day that he was to be promoted to brigadier general. In 1958, Darby was immortalized on the silver screen by James Garner, who took over after Charlton Heston had to leave the production.

9Hannie Schaft


Prior to the 1940 German conquest of the Netherlands, Jannetje Johanna (Hannie) Schaft was a promising young law student. When Dutch students were required to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Nazis, she dropped out and joined a communist-affiliated resistance group. She helped to find shelter for Dutch Jews and eventually began carrying out assassinations, often targeting German officers and Dutch collaborators before escaping on her bicycle.

Hannie eventually became a high priority target known as “the Girl with Red Hair” (she quickly dyed it black). After her identity was discovered, the Nazis imprisoned her parents in a concentration camp. Although Hannie refused to turn herself in, she was ultimately arrested at a German checkpoint when a pistol was discovered in her bag. In 1945, she was taken out onto the beach near Bloemendaal for execution. When a German officer fired at her, the bullet only grazed her temple, allowing her to spite her murderer:

“I am a much better shot!”

A Dutch collaborator then finished the job with a submachine gun. The Netherlands were liberated three weeks later.


When Europeans arrived in the New World, Hatuey was a minor chief on Hispaniola, where the first Spanish settlements were located. When Diego Velazquez set out to conquer Cuba, Hatuey arrived ahead of him and attempted to warn the Taino inhabitants of the island of the coming threat. The effort failed, and Hatuey was forced to resist using guerrilla tactics. To give an idea of just what Hatuey was up against, when a community of thousands of Taino agreed to host the Spanish to a feast, the conquistadors rewarded them for their hospitality with mass murder.

Hatuey’s small force held the Spanish at bay for months, keeping them confined to forts. In 1512, he was betrayed and captured. Prior to being burned to death, he was pressured to convert by a Franciscan friar. Instead he remained defiant:

“I prefer Hell to Heaven if there are Spaniards in Heaven.”

7Theodore Roosevelt


Few people benefited more from the Spanish-American war than Theodore Roosevelt. As far as most basic histories are concerned, his Rough Riders more or less won the war with their famous charge up Kettle Hill. Recent historians have given more credit to the performance of the largely African-American 10th Cavalry and 24th Infantry regiments, which didn’t receive much attention at the time. But all versions describe Roosevelt showing courage that verged on mad recklessness.

During the attack, charging uphill against withering enemy fire, Roosevelt rode a horse, encouraging cowering soldiers with a cry of:

“Are you afraid to stand up when I am on horseback?”

Witnesses said they thought for sure he would be killed. A bullet did graze his arm, but Roosevelt shrugged the minor injury off and continued the charge.

6Liu Bang


In the late third century B.C., an especially vicious Chinese civil war was raged between the armies of Chu, commanded by Xiang Yu, and those of Han, under Liu Bang. Xiang and Liu had been allies in an earlier rebellion, but became enemies after Xiang Yu declared himself ruler of all China.

For years, Xiang Yu defeated Liu Bang again and again. During one of his early victories, he even captured Liu’s father. Eventually, after forming and losing several armies, Liu’s Han forces brought Xiang to a standstill. Xiang Yu then sent his enemy an unusual threat: If Liu did not surrender, Xiang would boil his father alive. This was no idle threat—Xiang had previously boiled an underling alive for calling him an ape in a hat. However, Liu sent back an unforgettable response:

“Send me a cup of the soup.”

Elsewhere in the letter, Liu reminded Xiang that they had declared themselves brothers during their time as allies—so for Xiang to boil Liu’s father would be patricide. The letter worked—Xiang spared Liu’s father. Liu Bang ultimately defeated the Chu and drove his rival to commit suicide beside a river.

5An Anonymous Finnish Officer


The 1939–1940 Winter War between Russia and Finland was arguably one of the most extraordinary wars ever fought. The Finns were so badly outnumbered that there was one Russian soldier for every four citizens of Finland, let alone Finnish soldiers. Their air force was outnumbered more than 30 to one. They had less than one percent of the tanks the Russians had. And yet the Finns managed to prevent the conquest of their country.

Perhaps fittingly for such a national effort, the soldier who best encapsulated the Finnish determination wasn’t even named. During a battle in the area of Suomussalmi, the Finnish tactics were proving unusually effective, ultimately inflicting as many as 28,000 casualties—while suffering just 700 of their own. One of Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s officers said it best:

“The wolves will eat well this winter.”

4David Farragut


During the US Civil War, Rear Admiral David Farragut was in command of the Union Fleet sent to seize the vital port of Mobile from the Confederacy. If Farragut was successful, it would be just the sort of inspiring victory the North needed (to give an idea of how bad the situation was, the value of the American dollar had dropped to 39 percent of its pre-war value the month before). The port was defended by the usual Southern ships and cannons—as well as a vast array of “torpedos,” which were actually what we would now refer to as mines. As the Union fleet approached, one of the lead ships, the ironclad Tecumseh, struck one of the mines and sank. The other ships naturally hesitated to proceed further. Determined to continue, Farragut gave his famous cry from aboard the flagship Hartford:

“Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!”

And thus the Hartford sailed directly into the vast array of mines, in what surely seemed like a suicide attack. Farragut was lucky, though. The Southern mines were old and, aside from the one that sunk the Tecumseh, duds. The Hartford struck numerous mines but emerged unscathed, motivating the rest of the fleet to continue and eventually capture the town.

3Marshal Michel Ney


While Napoleon Bonaparte deserves a great deal of credit for his military triumphs, he was also blessed with a number of truly great generals. Michel Ney was, if perhaps not the smartest, certainly the most courageous. Bonaparte’s nickname for him was “the Bravest of the Brave” for his willingness to put himself in harm’s way.

Ney retained his rank after Napoleon’s initial defeat and exile to Elba. When Napoleon escaped, the French monarchy sent Ney to arrest him. Instead, he rejoined his old commander and was at Napoleon’s side during the Emperor’s final defeat at Waterloo. The French monarchy, restored to power yet again, decided to make an example of Ney, and he was scheduled for execution on December 8, 1815. When the time came for the unpleasant business, Ney refused a blindfold, told his former brothers-in-arms to listen up, and said that he had always been loyal to France. He concluded:

“Soldiers, fire!”

2Alaric The Visigoth


Although the Western Roman Empire is usually said to have fallen in A.D. 476, when the last emperor was removed from power, the writing had been on the wall from at least A.D. 408. That was when Rome itself was threatened by the Visigoth warlord Alaric I, who demanded a huge ransom of gold, scarlet, silver, and pepper. In response, Rome sent two dignitaries, who warned Alaric that he faced the entire desperate population of the largest city in the Empire. Alaric’s response was one even pompous Roman politicians could appreciate:

“The thicker the hay, the easier it is mowed!”

The Romans promptly paid up in response. It didn’t help that much—Alaric eventually sacked the city in A.D. 410.

1Jerry “Mad Dog” Shriver


One of the most famous members of the United States Army Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets), Sergeant First Class Jerry Michael Shriver was the terror of the North Vietnamese Army from 1964 to 1969. A tall man who wore a derby hat and blue Chinese smoking jacket when not on duty, and whose main companion was an Alsatian named Klaus, Shriver almost seemed to have a death wish. Under conditions where most Green Berets only undertook around 20 missions, Shriver went on 40 of them during his time in Vietnam. He admitted to others that he knew it was excessive, but that he just couldn’t give up the thrill of combat. The nickname “Mad Dog” came from broadcasts by the enemy denouncing him and his unit, which was known as “Hatchet Platoon,” and offering $10,000 for his death or capture.

During one mission, Hatchet Platoon found itself encircled and outnumbered. Shriver described the situation to his air support and was told that it sounded “pretty bad.” Shriver’s response became legendary among the special forces:

“I’ve got ‘em right where I want ‘em—surrounded from the inside.”

Shriver survived that day, but his boldness eventually cost him dearly. On April 24, 1969, he boarded a helicopter in Quan Loi and went on what he claimed to know would be his final mission. His last known words, spoken before he boarded the helicopter, were to ask his comrades to take care of Klaus.

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10 Worst Moments in US History

This list is a response to the one published a couple of days ago with the topic of ’10 great moments’ in American history. A lot of people objected and asked for a list with ’10 worst moments’ in American history. So here it is, just to present both sides of American history, good & bad. It is in chronological order and if you have any suggestions to make, feel free to do so & constructive criticism is appreciated while argument for the sake of arguing will not lead us anywhere. Anyway, here it is:


The Trail of Tears was the relocation and movement of Native Americans, including many members of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw nations among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in the Western United States. The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831. Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations, and many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans from these southeastern nations had been removed from their homelands thereby opening 25 million acres for settlement by European Americans


The Dred Scott Decision was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States. It also held that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. The Court also ruled that because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Lastly, the Court ruled that slaves—as chattel or private property—could not be taken away from their owners without due process.


The battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties. The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead. This represented 25% of the Federal force and 31% of the Confederate. More Americans died on September 17, 1862, than on any other day in the nation’s military history. Several generals died as a result of the battle, including Maj. Gens. Joseph K. Mansfield , Israel B. Richardson and Brig. Gen. Isaac P. Rodman on the Union side (all mortally wounded), and Brig. Gens. Lawrence O. Branch, William E. Starke on the Confederate side (killed).


A massive drop in value of the stock market helped trigger the Great Depression which lasted until the increased economic activity spurred by WW2 got us going back in the right direction. The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, and international trade plunged by a half to two-thirds. Unemployment in the United States rose to 25% and in some countries rose as high as 33%. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by approximately 60 percent.


The US government came to the conclusion that interning Japanese-American citizens was the best of a number of bad options. Roughly a hundred thousand Japanese-Americans ended up in camps. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19, uprooting Japanese Americans on the west coast to be sent to Internment camps. The order led to the internment of Japanese Americans or AJAs (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) in which some 120,000 ethnic Japanese people were held in internment camps for the duration of the war. Of the Japanese interned, 62% were Nisei (American-born, second-generation Japanese American and therefore American citizens) or Sansei (third-generation Japanese American, also American citizens) and the rest were Issei (Japanese immigrants and resident aliens, first-generation Japanese American).


A decision was taken to drop atomic bombs on Japanese civilians killing roughly 200,000 people in total to ‘shorten’ the war. ( It completely ignored the fact that war is between armies, not civilians). On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the nuclear bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000-140,000. Approximately 69% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed, and about 7% severely damaged. On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world’s second atomic bomb attack (and second plutonium bomb; the first was tested in New Mexico, USA) at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 40,000 people were killed by the bomb nicknamed “Fat Man.” According to statistics found within Nagasaki Peace Park, the death toll from the atomic bombing totaled 73,884, as well as another 74,909 injured, and another several hundred thousand diseased and dying due to fallout and other illness caused by radiation.

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Kennedy’s decision to go forward with the invasion and then deny them air support doomed the entire enterprise to failure. Today, 44 years later, Fidel Castro, a diehard enemy of the United States, is still in power. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile combatants in three days. Bad Cuban-American relations were made worse by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The invasion is often criticized as making Castro even more popular, adding nationalistic sentiments to the support for his economic policies. Following the initial attacks by 8 CIA-owned B-26s on Cuban airfields, he declared the revolution “Marxist-Leninist”. There are still yearly nationwide drills in Cuba during the ‘Dia de la Defensa’ (Defense Day) to prepare the population for an invasion.


The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisors arrived, beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including 3 to 4 million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers. The Case-Church Amendment, passed by the U.S. Congress in response to the anti-war movement, prohibited direct U.S. military involvement after August 15, 1973. U.S. military and economic aid continued until 1975. The capture of Saigon by North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.


Terrorist madmen attack the Twin Towers and Pentagon, kill nearly 3000 Americans, and set off a war on terrorism. (Some accounts suggest it was an inside job, or a horrific case of neglect). Afghanistan invaded to destroy the groups (Taliban & al Qaeda) America itself made, trained & armed to fight the Russian invasion. The campaign is still going on and has spilled into neighboring Pakistan, India & Iran, highlighting the inability of American forces to contain the war. The initial attack removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have since regained some strength. T he war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al-Qaeda’s movement than anticipated. Since 2006, Afghanistan has seen threats to its stability from increased Taliban-led insurgent activity, record-high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabul


The ‘Invasion of Iraq’ on the basis of alleged reports saying Iraq possesses WMD’s. Nothing found but hundreds of thousands of lives shattered. Bush later admitted that “[my] biggest regret of the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency released a report saying that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some traditional U.S. allies, including France, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of WMD and that invading Iraq was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC’s February 12, 2003 report. On February 15, 2003, a month before the invasion, there were many worldwide protests against the Iraq war, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war, but the decision remained & Iraq was invaded.


McCarthyism is the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, “McCarthyism” soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. During the post–World War II era of McCarthyism, many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Historian Ellen Schrecker wrote that “in this country, McCarthyism did more damage to the constitution than the American Communist Party ever did.”

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10 Times The Military Mistakenly Dropped Nuclear Bombs

“Broken arrows” are nuclear accidents that don’t create a risk of nuclear war. Examples include accidental nuclear detonations or non-nuclear detonations of nuclear weapons. So far, the US Department of Defense recognizes 32 such incidents. They’re sobering examples of how one tiny mistake could potentially cause massive unintentional damage.

10British Columbia

The first recorded American military nuclear weapon loss took place in British Columbia on February 14, 1950. A Convair B-36 was on its way from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to the Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. The bomber was scheduled to take part in a mission that simulated a nuclear attack on San Francisco. The role of the bomber was to see if these kinds of planes could perform bomb runs in extremely cold weather. That way, the military could see how the bomber would perform if it ever got attacked by the Soviets and had to respond.

Because it was meant to go on a mock bomb run, the plane was carrying a Mark IV atomic bomb. However, the military wasn’t actually planning to nuke anybody, so the bomb didn’t contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation. Even so, it still had about 2,250 kilograms (5,000 lb) of regular explosives, so the Mark IV could still create a huge explosion.

In one way, the mission was a success. The military wanted to find out whether or not the B-36 could attack the Soviets during the Arctic winter, and they learned the answer—it couldn’t. Due to the harsh weather conditions, three of the six engines failed. The crew was forced to bail out, but they first jettisoned the Mark IV and detonated it over the Inside Passage in Canada. Five of the 17 men aboard the B-36 died.

9Mars Bluff, South Carolina

Mars Bluff isn’t a sprawling metropolis with millions of people and giant skyscrapers. It’s a tiny, unincorporated community located in Florence County, South Carolina. However, it does have one claim to fame—on March 11, 1958, Mars Bluff was accidentally bombed by the United States Air Force with a Mark 6 nuke.

A Boeing B-47E-LM Stratojet departed from Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia and was headed to England. It was part of Operation Snow Flurry, in which bombers flew to England to perform mock drops to test their accuracy. The Boeing in question had a Mark VI nuclear bomb onboard. As with the British Columbia incident, the bomb was inactive but still had thousands of pounds of explosives.

This one is entirely the captain’s fault. While he was performing checks on the bomb, he accidentally grabbed the emergency release pin. This released the bomb from its harness, and it fell right through the bomber doors to the ground 4,500 meters (15,000 ft) below.

The bomb landed on the house of Walter Gregg. Fortunately, nobody was killed in the ensuing explosion, although Gregg and five other family members were injured. Gregg sued the Air Force and was awarded $54,000 in damages, which is almost $500,000 in today’s money.

8Minot, North Dakota

Don’t think that fumbles with nuclear weapons are a thing of the past; the most recent such incident happened in 2007 at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

The mission was supposed to be pretty simple—deliver a load of unarmed AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles to a weapons graveyard. A dozen of them were loaded onto a B-52, six on each side. The officer in charge came and gave a quick inspection with a passing glance at the missiles on the right side before signing off on the mission. If he bothered to look on the left side, he would have noticed something quite interesting—the six missiles were all still armed with nuclear warheads, each with the power of 10 Hiroshima bombs.

This fun fact went unnoticed for the next 36 hours. During that time, the missiles flew across the country to Louisiana without any kind of safety protocols in place or any other procedure normally required when transporting nuclear weapons.

In the end, things turned out fine, which is why this incident was never classified as a broken arrow. Rather, it’s a “bent spear,” an event involving nuclear weapons of significant concern without involving detonation. Even so, when word got out, the public was quite distressed to find out exactly how easily six incredibly dangerous nuclear weapons can get misplaced through simple error.

7Tybee Island, Georgia

The year 1958 wasn’t a brilliant year for the US military. This is the second of three broken arrow incidents that year, this time taking place in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia.

A 3,500-kilogram (7,600 lb) Mark 15 nuclear bomb was aboard a B-47 bomber engaged in standard practice exercises. What was not so standard was an accidental collision with an F-86 fighter plane, significantly damaging the B-47’s wing. The bomber was barely airborne, so the crew jettisoned the bomb in preparation for an emergency landing.

The bomb was jettisoned over the waters of the Savannah River. To the crew’s surprise, they never heard an explosion. The pilot guided the bomber safely to the nearest air force base and even received a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. However, there was still one question left unanswered—where was the giant nuclear bomb?

That’s a question still unanswered today. The bomb was never found. Even now, over 55 years after the accident, people are still looking for it. Experts agree that the bomb ended up somewhere at the bottom of the Wassaw Sound, where it should still be today, buried under several feet of silt.

6Mediterranean Sea

The military does have a tendency to lose a nuclear weapon every now and then without ever recovering it. However, in these cases, they at least have some idea of where the bombs ended up. That is not the case with this broken arrow. It is, without a doubt, the most mysterious incident of its kind.

On March 10, 1956, a B-47 Stratojet took off from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida carrying capsules with nuclear weapon cores. It was headed to a then-undisclosed foreign military base, later revealed to be Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco. During the flight, the bomber was supposed to undergo two aerial refueling sessions. The first one went off without a hitch. When the second tanker arrived to meet up with the B-47, the bomber was nowhere to be found.

And it was never found again. It had disappeared without a trace over the Mediterranean Sea.

The Royal Navy organized extensive searches assisted by French and Moroccan troops stationed in the area. The best they could come up with is a report that the plane went down somewhere near a coastal village in Algeria called Port Say. The plane and its cargo was eventually classified “lost at sea,” and the three crew members were declared dead.

5San Antonio, Texas

This is a unique case, even for a broken arrow, and it goes to show that even obsolete nuclear weapons need to be handled with care as they are still dangerous.

The incident took place at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Specifically, it occurred at the Medina Base, an annex formerly used as a National Stockpile Site (NSS). Back in the ’60s, it was also used to decommission and disassemble old nuclear weapons.

On November 13, 1963, the annex experienced a massive chemical explosion when 56,000 kilograms (123,000 lb) of non-nuclear explosives detonated. Shockingly, there were no casualties, and only three workers received minor injuries. The nuclear components were stored in a different part of the building, so radioactive contamination was minimal.

The incident became public immediately but didn’t cause a big stir because it was overshadowed when, just a few days later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

4Fairfield, California


This is one of the most serious broken arrows in terms of loss of life. By the end, 19 people were dead, and almost 180 were injured. Among the victims was Brigadier General Robert F. Travis.

The incident took place at the Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in California. The Korean War was raging, and the military was transporting a load of Mark IV nuclear bombs to Guam. Ten B-29 bombers were loaded with one nuclear weapon each.

Shortly after takeoff, one of the planes developed engine trouble. General Travis, aboard that plane, ordered it back to the base, but another error prevented the landing gear from deploying. The pilot had to crash-land the B-29 in a remote area of the base. Of the 20 people aboard the plane, 12 died on impact, including Travis. Ground personnel tried to put out the fire before the bomb would explode, but the Mark IV detonated, and the 2,300 kilograms (5,000 lb) of conventional explosives caused a massive blast that killed seven more people.

The military tried to cover up the incident by claiming that the plane was loaded with only conventional explosives. The accident report made no mention of nuclear weapons aboard the bomber. The base was soon renamed “Travis Air Force Base” in honor of the general.

3Palomares, Spain

The incident that happened in Palomares, Spain on January 17, 1966 was a bad one, even for a broken arrow. For starters, it involved the destruction of two different aircraft and the deaths of seven of the people aboard them. Moreover, it involved four hydrogen bombs, two of which exploded. Lastly, it all took place in a foreign land, hurting the United States politically.

A B-52G bomber was flying over the Mediterranean Sea when it was approached by a tanker for a standard mid-air refueling. The two planes collided, and both were completely destroyed. The bomber had been carrying four MK28 hydrogen bombs. One landed in a riverbed and was fine—it didn’t leak; it didn’t explode. Another fell in the sea and was recovered a few months later. Two bombs landed near the Spanish village of Palomares and exploded on impact. They contaminated a 2.5-square-kilometer (1 mi2) area, although nobody was killed in the blasts.

A few months later, the US government was sued by Spanish fisherman Francisco Simo Ortis, who had helped find the bomb that fell in the sea. According to maritime law, he was entitled to the salvage reward, which was 1 percent of the haul’s total value. Luckily for him, the value of that salvage happened to be $2 billion, so he asked for $20 million. He settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.


This Greenland incident, commonly referred to as the Thule accident, took place just two years after Palomares and has a lot of similarities with the previous broken arrow. It involved four different hydrogen bombs, and it took place in a foreign land, causing diplomatic problems for the United States.

On January 21, 1968, a B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs was flying over Baffin Bay in Greenland when the cabin caught fire. Originally, the plan was to make an emergency landing at Thule Air Base, but the fire was too severe, and the plane didn’t make it there. Six of the seven crew members made it out alive, while the bomber crashed into the sea ice.

One of the bombs detonated, spreading radioactive contamination over a 300-meter (1,000 ft) area. All of the contaminated snow and ice—roughly 7,000 cubic meters (250,000 ft3)—was removed and disposed of by the United States. Another bomb simply burned without exploding, and two others fell into the icy waters. One of those was eventually recovered about 10 years later, but the other one is still somewhere at the bottom of Baffin Bay.

Oddly enough, the Danish government got into more trouble than the American one. Greenland is a territory administered by Denmark, and the country had implemented a nuclear-free policy in 1957. In what would eventually get dubbed “Thulegate,” it came out that the Danish government was secretly allowing the stockpiling of nuclear weapons on its soil during peacetime.

1Albuquerque, New Mexico

We’ve finally arrived at the most famous broken arrow in US history, one mostly made famous by the government covering it up for almost 30 years.

On May 22, 1957, a B-36 bomber was transporting a giant Mark 17 hydrogen bomb from Texas to the Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was one of the biggest nuclear bombs ever made, 8 meters (25 ft) in length and with an explosive yield of 10 megatons.

Everything was going fine until the plane was about 6 kilometers (4 mi) from the base. Then, for reasons that remain unknown, the bomb’s safety harness failed. The giant hydrogen bomb fell through the bay doors of the bomber and plummeted 500 meters (1,700 ft) to the ground.

Two pieces of good news came after this. First, the plutonium pits hadn’t been installed in the bomb during transportation, so there was no chance of a nuclear explosion. Second, the bomb landed in a mostly empty field. It produced a giant explosion, left a 3.5-meter (12 ft) deep crater, and spread radioactive contaminants over a 1.5-kilometer (1 mi) area. But the damage was minimal, and there was only one casualty—an unfortunate cow that was grazing in the vicinity of the explosion.

For 29 years, the government kept the accident at Kirtland a secret. This practically ensured that, when it was eventually revealed, everyone treated it like a huge deal, even though much worse broken arrows had happened since.

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